Observer "Lietuva"
WEEK 29th 2003

Saturday 19th of July, 2003

Gas tariffs might grow due to disputes of power companies
The Lithuanian District Heating Association criticises the government's decision to lift regulation of the natural gas tariffs and claims that this decision might lead to higher district heating tariffs for Lithuanian consumers.
Lietuvos Dujos (Lithuanian Gas) does not rule out a possibility to address the court unless the District Heating Association denies this information. The gas company believes that the majority of arguments of district heating companies do not correspond to the reality and represent interest of heat companies.
(Lietuvos Zinios)

Lithuanian industrial sales up by nearly 8 percent in H1
Lithuanian industrial sales grew by 7.8 percent in the first six months of 2003, compared with the respective period of 2002. Excluding petroleum products, industrial sales increased by 15.4 percent in the reporting period, the Statistics Department has reported.
Over a 12-month period from June 2002 to June 2003 industrial sales narrowed by 3.6 percent. Excluding petroleum products, industrial sales edged higher by 13.3 percent in June, in year-on-year terms. As compared with May, last month industrial sales inched up by 0.5 percent. Excluding petroleum products, industrial sales dipped by 0.5 percent in June against May.

Vilniaus Baldu Kombinatas has been awarded two certificates
One of the largest German certification companies, TUV Thuringen, has awarded AB Vilniaus Bald? Kombinatas with ISO 14001 and ISO 9001certificates.
In the first half of 2003 Vilniaus Baldu Kombinatas gained LTL 3.68 million pre-audit net profit. Sales of the company amounted to LTL 41.45 million. In the respective period of 2002, sales of the company amounted to LTL 38.39 million and the profit in 2002 stood at 2.47 million. 95 percent of production of Vilniaus Baldu Kombinatas is exported to foreign countries. One of the buyers of the exported production is an international company IKEA.

Friday 18th of July, 2003

Dujotekana complains to court over state price control decision
Dujotekana, Lithuania's biggest natural gas importer and supplier, appealed to Vilnius Area Administrative Court against the decision of the National Control Commission for Prices and Energy to lower the natural gas price cap for free customers. In the end of June, the National Control Commission for Prices and Energy fixed the gas price cap of LTL 289 /1,000 m?.
Dujotekana believes that introduction of state-regulated prices contradicts the Constitution.
The company plans to invest LTL 40 million in the energy sector.
(Respublika, Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios)

Retail trade grows 10.4 percent in January – May
According to preliminary data from the Statistics Department, turnover of retail trade, engine transport retail trade, maintenance of cars and fuel retail trade amounted to LTL 6.705,3 million , or 10.4 percent more than in the respective period last year. Turnover of companies selling food products increased by 7.3 percent. Turnover of companies selling non-food products increased by 7 percent. Sale of motor vehicles and motorcycles, maintenance and repairs thereof, and retail sale of automotive fuel totalled LTL 6.705 billion.
(Verslo Zinios)

The English offers to help selling municipality house of Vilnius
Rhymer Investments offers the local government of Vilnius to turn the municipality house into a trading and entertainment centre and sell or lease the building to some retail trader. Rhymer Investments is a single investor interested in the municipality house in Vilnius. The business daily Verslo Zinios announced that the municipality house and its land are assessed at LTL 63 million.
(Verslo Zinios)

Thursday 17th of July, 2003

Klasco losses reverse to profit
Klaipeda stevedoring company Klasco, owned by the Achema Group, reported net profit of LTL 157,200 in the first half of 2003.
The company suffered losses of LTL 2.017 million in the first six months of 2002.
Revenues of the stevedoring company rose by 27.4 percent to LTL 63.977 million in the first half of 2003.
Virginija Dunauskien?, spokesperson of Achema Group, attributed the growth in revenues to the operations of the liquid fertilizer terminal, which boosted handling volumes by 80.1 percent to 762,000 tons of fertilizers in January to June period.
Last year Klasco suffered losses of LTL 15.29 million on revenues of LTL 109 million. The stevedoring company aims to boost revenues by 18 percent to LTL 129 million and earn profit of approximately LTL 5 million this year.
(Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo zinios, Kauno diena)

Senukai takes over Baltic Shopping Centers / Senukai takes over not-started construction of Germans in Kaunas
On Wednesday, Axel Pfeiffer, board chairman of AB Baltic Shopping Centers (BSC) and Augustinas Rakauskas, president of Senukai association, signed an agreement on the purchase of a 51 percent share in BSC.
BSC is a subsidiary of Dr. Werner Pfeiffer Objekt Entwiklung GmbH in Lithuania. It works on two projects in Lithuania: a 65,000 m? trade centre in Vyt?nai, near Kaunas, and a 28,000 m? trade centre in the Northern Town, Vilnius. Construction works have started neither in Vilnius or Kaunas yet.
Speaking about the new trade complex in Vyt?nai, Rakauskas says it should embrace attitudes and possibilities of Senukai, Senukai's investor Kesko and the German partner. However, the new partners agree that the trade center should be built as soon as possible.
(Verslo Zinios, Respublika, Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Rytas)

Court for parliamentarians for businessman critics
On Wednesday, the concern MG Baltic brought an action to Vilnius Area Court against two lawmakers from Kaunas city, Social Democratic coalition faction members Kestutis Krisciunas and Vasilijus Popovas, as it said for the facts, which did not correspond to reality, and for the libel during a Monday press conference in the Seimas.
The propositions of the two parliamentarians have been cited in the local media causing damage to the concern and Mineraliniai Vandenys, Legal Director of MG Baltic, Romanas Raulynaitis said during the news conference on Wednesday.
The concern wants the afore-mentioned parliamentarians to deny in public the words, which humiliated MG Baltic and caused damage to its good name.
On Monday, Krisciunas and Popovas said that Mineraliniai Vandenys is to buy Stumbras for borrowed money and that all the company's assets have been mortgaged to banks. They also said that the sales of the alcohol wholesaler have diminished significantly and that one of the concern-controlled companies is on the verge of bankruptcy. The concern wants to purchase Stumbras for getting access to the latter's operational funds.
MG Baltic also wants court to sentence the lawmakers to pay LTL 400,000 in compensation for moral damage caused to the concern.
(Veidas, Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika, Veidas)

Wednesday 16th of July, 2003

Deficit of current account – LTL 875 million
In May 2003, the Balance of Payments current account balance was negative amounting to LTL 124.2 million.
In May 2003, compared to the same period last year, export of goods declined by 7.9 per cent, and import by 12.4 per cent. The above developments were determined by the export of mineral products and vehicles.
The positive balance of services amounted to LTL 198.7 million (LTL 123.6 million in April). Compared to May 2002, export of services decreased by 6.6 percent, while import of services contracted by 20.3 per cent. The positive balance of services improved over the period under comparison by LTL 31.1 million.
Foreign assets of domestic economic entities (financial claims to non-residents), excluding reserve assets, increased by LTL 49 million, while international financial liabilities went up by LTL 209.0 million. The balance of capital transfers amounted to LTL 36.2 million.
I n May, Foreign direct investment flows were LTL 133 million in Lithuania. Compared to April, they increased by LTL 35 million.

Drugstores merge against market leaders
Independent drugstores of Lithuania have started merging into bigger chains in order to withstand increasing competition and retain their market positions.
Baltijos Vaistiniu Grupe (Baltic Drugstore Group or BVG) began operating in early May; at present the chain comprises 155 drugstores in 20 Lithuanian towns.
BVG claims that it controls a 10 percent market share. The pharmaceutical market amounted to LTL 960 million last year.
Eurofarmacijos Vaistines, the largest drugstore chain that belongs to VP Market's group, posted LTL 94.8 million turnover in 2002, a 48 percent rise year-on-year. This year, the company plans to boost the turnover by 52 percent, to LTL 144 million. The chain comprised 67 drugstores early this year and plans to open 60 more drugstores until the end of the year.
(Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios)

LTL 9 million price for Obeliu aliejus is expected
LTL 9 million is expected after selling bankrupted company Obeli? Aliejus. Assets of the company will be sold in an auction on August 7. The value of real estate and equipment of the company is LTL 16.542 million. Debt of Obeli? Aliejus is LTL 25 million. Obeli? Rapsas company was interested in opportunities to revive Obeli? Aliejus. Tikras Kelias, a company owned by retail trade group VP Market, expressed intentions to obtain bankrupted company Obeli? Aliejus.
(Verslo Zinios)

Tuesday 15th of July, 2003

Turnover of Lithuania's Kauno Pieno Centras smaller by one fifth
Kauno Pieno Centras (KPC), one of the leading ice cream producers and frozen food product distributors in the Baltic countries, has said its first half sales slumped down by 20.4 percent, in year terms, to LTL 12.5 million.
The company has released figures showing that its ice cream sales reached LTL 9.17 million in the first half of this year, a 19.6 percent decline over the same period last year.
Gytis Kauzonas, CEO of the company, blamed the drop in sales to unfavourable weather conditions. "The cool and rainy summer, which followed a colder-than-usual winter and cold spring, has had an adverse effect on our sales," he said.
KPC's total ice cream exports for the first half surged by 81.9 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 1.47 million, with sales to Estonia and Latvia, its main export markets, rising by 16 percent to LTL 0.9 million.
The company, based in Lithuania's second biggest city of Kaunas, reported sales of LTL30.4 million for the full year 2002, a 9 percent rise over the previous year.
(Kauno Diena)

Interest in WITFOR has surpassed hopes
Nearly 150 participants, including vice-presidents of the leading global IT companies, such as Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard and Computer Associates, have already registered for the Global IT Forum (WITFOR) to be hosted by Vilnius in August.
The forum due on August 27-29 aims to tackle the latest initiatives on usage of information and communications technologies in pursuit of digital equality, as well as the ideas on transition to high quality content and information in public sectors, preservation of intellectual property rights, expansion of principles of equal opportunities. Participants will close the event with the issue of the Vilnius Declaration.
Lithuania has earmarked about LTL 1 million for the organization of the event, the sponsors of which will donate further LTL 3-4 million.
(Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios)

Heating companies considering opportunity to increase prices
Some of heating companies are considering the possible raise of heating tariffs due to the Government's decision to cancel gas price regulation for free consumers. The governmental gas regulation has been acknowledged illegal. Gas suppliers claim that prices of heating will not increase after price regulation is cancelled.
The Lithuanian District Heating Association forecasts a 7-8 percent price increase.
According to Raimundas Paliukas, the CEO of Dujotekana, after lifting of price regulation, the company has raised the price of natural gas only by 2 percent (from LTL 304 to LTL 310 per cubic metre).

Banks' profit on market scales
The third largest Lithuanian bank Nord/LB Lietuva and smaller participants of the market, ?kio Bankas and Medicinos Bankas, announced H1 profit on Monday.
Nord/LB Lietuva, owned by the German bank Nord/LB, reported net profit of LTL 10.468 million for the first half of this year. Bank's losses in January-June of 2002 reached LTL 12.854 million. Net losses for the whole of 2002 soared to LTL 50.604 million through special provisions.
The bank expects to post LTL 8.3 million in net earnings this year.
Ukio Bankas reported net profit of LTL 1.249 million in the first six months of this year, a decline of 27.2 percent as compared with the figure of the respective period of 2002.
Net earnings for the year 2002 totalled LTL 6.156 million rising by 113 percent as compared with 2001. The bank plans to boost profit to LTL 4.806 million this year.
One of Lithuania's smallest commercial banks in terms of assets, Medicinos Bankas, announced a pre-audited net profit of LTL 1.121 million for the first half of 2003, a 95.3 percent increase over the same period last year.
(Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios, Respublika)

Monday 14th of July, 2003

There is no news on potential buyer of Stumbras
Antanas Malikenas, the director of the State Property Fund, does not forecast the winners of a public tender for Lithuanian alcohol company Stumbras. Price of the initial share portfolio of Stumbras is LTL 107 million or 3.92 per share of LTL 4 net value. Next Wednesday, the government is to ratify the project of the sales/purchase of 72.93 percent of stake in Anykssiu Vynas. Wholesale alcohol company Artrio-2 is the buyer of Anykssiu Vynas' shares.
(Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas)

Q1 turnover of SBA - LTL 250 million
Turnover of Uab SBA concern increased by 3.4 percent, LTL 249.044 million if compared with the respective period last year. The consolidated turnover consists of turnover of six furniture companies (AB Klaipedos Baldai, Silutes Baldai, Kauno Baldai, Karige, Almena, UAB Baldutura) three textile companies (AB Utenos Trikotazas, Satrija and Justima) also two retail trade companies (UAB Klaipedos Baldu Prekyba and Utenos Trikotazo Prekyba) and the turnover of SBA concern.
After SBA renounced oil business, its turnover decreased by 70.7 percent, from LTL 45.33 million to LTL 13.271 million if compared with the respective period last year.
(Verslo Zinios)

City residents have more computers than in village
Statistics Department provided data of household research. According to the data, 19 percent of households have PC in town and every fourth household has PC in village. Internet usage amounted to 6.2 percent. Internet usage is popular in city every 10th household use Internet and in village - one of the hundred. Usage of PC, mobile telephone, Internet at home directly depends on income of the household.
(Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Zinios)

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